Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Kicking & Screaming
I've just this morning uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing my sixth title for them--Kicking and Screaming, a YA novel I began writing years ago in my eighth grade classes at Harmon Middle School in Aurora, Ohio. (I had originally called the book Jock Itch but dropped that after a while.) And BTW: the Will Ferrell soccer film with the same title (Kicking and Screaming) was 2005. I had the title first! (Should I sue?)
I started the book on one of our "Free Writing" days--Friday, 4 September 1987. I continued adding to the story on Free Writing days, off and on, until 5 November 1993 (Guy Fawkes Day!). I had stopped writing it in 1990 (for a reason I can't remember), then returned to it in 1993, stopping again when I reached my ninety-fifth handwritten page--about halfway through the story I finally completed in the summer of 1997. Then shelved after a few feckless attempts to find a publisher that summer.
And I pretty much forgot about it. I was in love with Mary Shelley by then and was meeting her secretly and often and passionately when I should have been trying to place my book. Oh well. Love makes you crazy.
But--as I wrote on this blog some months ago--this year I decided to by-pass publishers (with whom I've had experiences ranging from wonderful to horrible) and upload some of my unpublished work directly to Amazon/Kindle. It's been fun. So far, I've published my biographies of Mary Shelley and Edgar Poe, two memoirs (one about reading, one about teaching), and two YA novels (Mind-Boggle and now Kicking and Screaming). They've sold all right--somewhere between Harry Potter and zero. You know. But the important thing to me is that these books are now "out there" instead of on a shelf staring at me reproachfully.
So ... about Kicking and Screaming. It's narrated by a high school senior, Don Canard, who is remembering the events of the fall of his junior year when he lost his place on the football team to a girl. He'd been groomed to be the placekicker, but a German exchange student named Anke--a soccer player--is just much better.
This has consequences. Don's divorced father, who owns a sporting goods store in town, is a sports fanatic who cannot believe what has happened. Don's older sister, Carrie, is an outstanding athlete who is also dating Don's best friend, a star player on the football team. Oh, and the cross-country coach, realizing Don has no other commitment, wants him for the team; otherwise, they won't have enough runners for the meets. And so on.
And compounding all: Don finds himself ... attracted ... to Anke.
And, of course, there's the usual spice of adolescent angst and rebellion and trying to get along in a school where your status has suddenly shifted.
Anyway, if you've got a Kindle, I hope you'll give it a try. (Price: $2.99--hell, some drinks at Starbucks cost a lot more than that! And they're gone in an eye blink.)
As soon as the book is available for purchase--later today--I'll post a note on FB and here and Twitter and all those other technologies that have somehow become indispensable.
I have one more YA novel to post--some months from now--Bob the Slob, which, in fact, was the first one I wrote. Bad news: I have to re-type the whole thing (I have no electronic copy because the disk formats changed so much over time).
And I'm also working hard to finish another memoir--this one about my Major (10-Year) Love Affair with Mary Shelley. It's called Frankenstein Sundae.